Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Girl From Felony Bay

Title: The Girl from Felony Bay
Author: J.E. Thompson
Publisher: Walden Pond Press
Publication Date: April 30, 2013
Genre/Format: Mystery/Novel
Goodreads Summary: The last year has been rougher than sandpaper for Abbey Force and her dad. He's in a coma after his accident a year back, wherein he was framed for a terrible crime he didn't commit. And their home, Reward Plantation, an idyllic spot on the eastern coast of South Carolina, had to be sold to pay off his debt to society. Abbey is stuck living with her uncle Charlie, who, even in the few hours a day when he's sober, ain't exactly your ideal parental role model.

But it turns out the new family that moved into Abbey's old house has a daughter named Bee. And she's just as curious about all the No Trespassing signs and holes being dug out by Felony Bay, in the corner of what used to be Abbey's home. It appears someone's been poking around a mystery that dates all the way back to the Civil War--and it just might be the same someone who framed Abbey's dad.

What I Think: Throughout this whole story, I was rooting and rooting for little Ms. Abbey! This girl is tough. She's dealing with so many things but being so strong throughout the whole book. During our Girl Power series, J.E. Thomspon shared his feelings about girls in children's literature. It's clear that he does believe in strong girls in books because Abbey Force truly is an example of a determined young woman. Abbey trusts her instincts and what she knows about her family, especially her dad, to guide her decisions. It's been said that it's important to trust your gut or trust your heart but that's not always easy to do. I can imagine it's much harder to do even as a kid. Abbey has a lot of things working against her but I think that helps her become so determined, she doesn't have much to lose and it's imperative that she make the biggest difference she can if she can hope for anything to change. Bee is another great young woman in this book. When Abbey doesn't have much she can count on, it's so great that she has Bee. There's something so special about finding a friend who wants to go along on adventures and discover things with you and who will help you when you need it most. I'm so glad that Abbey and Bee find each other in this novel.
      Kids will love reading about Abbey and Bee and get pulled into trying to solve the mystery with them. I love that J.E. incorporates a little historical information and even geography and science into this book. Even though this book isn't technically historical fiction, readers still get a nice dose of history mixed in. If you look below, you'll see that I generated quite a list of novels to match with this book. I was thinking of mysteries and determined kids and kids facing difficult situations and themes like friendship and determination. I could also see kids wanting to learn more about plantations and heir's property, alligators and snakes. Books that lead to other books are always great to find!
Read Together: Grades 5 - 6
Read Alone: Grades 5 - 8
Read With: The Fourth Stall by Chris Rylander, Matilda by Roald Dahl, Holes by Louis Sachar, Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer by John Grisham, Half Moon Investigations by Eoin Colfer, Chasing Vermeer (series) by Blue Baliett, Hoot by Carl Hiaasen, Swindle and other books by Gordon Korman, The Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine, Paperboy by Vince Vawter, Shine by Lauren Myracle, Copper Sun by Sharon Draper
Snatch of Text: 
"Pluff mud is the dark, gushy stuff that lines the banks of many low-country rivers and smells a little bit like dead fish." (p. 62)
"Heavy dew lay on the grass, and thick fog drifted off the river, lending everthing a mystery quality that only sharpened my hunger for answers." (p. 97)
"She was glancing around, looking everywhere at once, nervous as a pig at a barbeque contest." (p. 106)
Mentor Text for: Activating Background Information, Making Inferences, Making Predictions, Foreshadowing, Personal Narrative, Descriptive
Writing Prompts: Write about a time in your life when you were told something but your gut told you something else. Did you make decisions based on what you were told or based on your gut feeling? And how did things turn out or what would you do differently next time?
Topics Covered: Family, Friendship, Loyalty, Determination, Belief, Integration - Geography, Integration - Science - Snakes and Alligators
I *heart* It:
**Thank you to Kellie at Walden Pond Press for providing a copy for giveaway and review**

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